AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — At least two photos allegedly show Aurora Police Department officers at the site where Elijah McClain was incapacitated in August 2019 after a confrontation with officers and being injected with ketamine. The 23-year-old later died.
Police have not yet said what the officers are doing in the photos, which were taken in October 2019.
According to APD Interim Chief Vanessa Wilson, an internal affairs investigation was recently completed.
Wilson said she learned of the allegations Thursday afternoon.
An APD officer told internal affairs that “multiple Aurora Police officers were depicted in photographs near the site where Elijah McClain died,” Wilson said in a statement issued Monday night.
All officers involved were immediately placed on administrative leave with pay.
“I immediately ordered Internal Affairs to make this investigation their top priority. This accelerated investigation was completed this evening,” Wilson said in the statement. “This investigation will be publicly released in its entirety promptly upon its conclusion. This will include reports, photographic evidence obtained, (officers’) names, and my final determination which can rise to the level of termination.”
On Tuesday, Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman said he had not yet seen the photographs. He issued the following statement:
“I am deeply concerned over the facts surrounding the photographs that (Chief Wilson) has shared with me. I understand that there are due process procedural requirements that are in progress. I will comment on the case once the #investigation is complete.”
About 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, FOX31 and Channel 2 learned pre-disciplinary letters were sent to three officers allegedly involved in the photos.
If the chief decides to fire an officer, he or she has 72 hours to submit a rebuttal.
The chief will then take some time to consider the rebuttal and issue a discipline recommendation.
If the chief recommends firing the officer, the officer then has 10 days to file an appeal to be heard by the Civil Service Commission.
The appeals process can take weeks or months.
Sheneed McClain, Elijah’s mother, sent the following statement shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday:
“It’s a bunch of smoke, Aurora, Colorado has failed in providing justice to its citizens by allowing corrupt officials and police officers to roam the streets. I am not surprised that these photos are showing up now because the whole department is corrupt. Killers being protected by cowards and cowards being protected by killers. Aurora, Colorado’s senior officials should be ashamed of their leadership, it seems like they did a lot of following others to hell!”